Happy Yoo Near!

January 3, 2007

1. Hope ya had a Happy New Year…

2. I caught some of the TV festivities, but they haven’t been really captivating since Guy Lombardo died. (Enjoyed Lumbini’s blog reminiscing)… I remember him as a kid too. Those spooky old folks waltzing around in ratty gowns and tuxes, looking like something out of The Shining. It was corny, but also weirdly magical, like an inscrutable Latin Mass. “This is so bad,” you think, “It must be significant! Why else would anyone put up with it?”

3. The modern celebrations I find pretty dull. They’re trying to appeal to so many people that they never spend enough time on the musical genres I like. Meatloaf anyone?

4. And what’s the big deal about Carson Daly? I don’t get it, he’s got the all the charisma of a parking meter. And Dick Clark, well, he gets an A for effort, but hard to watch.

5. So I flipped around and found gold: famed scientist & author Richard Dawkins sparring with with creationists on C-Span… check out the spirited video Q&A on his website. The questioners, many from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, were rather lame in their attempts to trip up the Devil’s advocate. I’m loving his book, The God Delusion.

6. Went to a shiva, a Jewish tradition: time to sit with people mourning a dead loved one… which was alternately fun and crushingly sad. Luckily they are cultural Jews, so there wasn’t much ritual stuff for us goyim to screw up. Just a Kaddish prayer printed phonetically that everybody pretty much mangled.

7. Then went home and watched web video of Saddam doing the air-polka. Went to bed. Got up and watched Betty Ford try to climb into her husband’s coffin. To cheer myself up I spun some James Brown and contemplated the 3000th US casualty in Iraq. Happy Holidays, where’s my Vilartini?®


seven Rumsfeld moments

November 17, 2006

He may have gotten the sack, but his legacy belongs to the ages…
(Tip o’ the rabbit ears to Mr. Pink in LA for passing along this historic clip)

my favorite conservatives

November 15, 2006
  1. Pat Buccanon – his views on most issues are (to me) repulsive, but he has some good points in his new book State of Emergency, about the illegal immigration crisis. And I love his sense of humor. He’s got a great laugh, and at times he almost seems to acknowledge the silliness of his own statements.
  2. Senator John McCain – yeah, he’s lost a lot of that maverick edge he had in the 2004 primaries, but his tireless work on campaign finance reform demonstrates that he knows why the system is broken. The heart of the McCain-Feingold Bill has been cut out, and Congress is still bought and paid for by commercial interests. But I wonder if John is playing it straight now, just to get elected president, and has a secret plan to really rock the boat from the captain’s seat.
  3. Joe Scarborough – a former Republican congressman from Florida, his MSNBC show “Scarborough Country” is quite entertaining, and Joe is a reasonable (not fanatical) conservative. Any guy who watches “South Park” with his kids is OK by me.
  4. Andrew Sullivan – well, he’s gay and “National Review” hates him, but he keeps saying he’s a conservative, so I’ll take him at his word. He wants to redefine conservatism, bringing it back to its liberterian roots. See his new book, The Conservative Soul – How We Lost It, How to Get It Back.
  5. Barry M. Goldwater – sure, he was a little kooky (especially when the topic was nuclear war) but his willingness to change his mind, most famously on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and his strong and vocal resistance to the emerging religious right, was bracing and inspiring.
  6. William F. Buckley, Jr. – founder of “National Review” and the godfather of modern conservatism, Buckley’s keen intellect, grandious vocabulary and repertoire of facial tics makes him a one-man sideshow. At times he is so full of himself he can barely move. His TV talk show, “Firing Line”, ran for 33 years.
  7. Richard M. Nixon – he barely qualifies by today’s standards. Any president who dared to impose price controls, reach out to our enemy (China), and propose a guaranteed annual income would be run out of town on a rail by today’s right wingers … or at least branded with the “L-word.” Nixon’s murderous policies and criminal administration made him, for me, a monster. He was complex, twisted, and uncomfortable in his own skin. Nobody could lie like Nixon could lie. Nobody could sweat the way Nixon could sweat. I loved to hate him, and I kind of miss him.

anti-religion movement picking up steam?

November 14, 2006
  1. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  2. The End of Faith by Sam Harris
  3. The God Is Not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything by Chistopher Hitchens
  4. great blog entry: “How Hubble Killed God”
  5. Elton: religion “turns people into hateful lemmings”
  6. TIME cover: “God vs. Science: Can Religion Stand Up to the Test?”
  7. Breaking the Spell – Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett

to-do list for democratic congress

November 13, 2006
  1. get us the hell out of iraq
  2. police yourselves: keep hands out of cookie jar and pages’ pants
  3. new rule: if you take campaign $ from an industry you cannot write or vote on legislation that effects it. Period.
  4. pitch progressive ideas to the public from a practical, not idealistic perspective.
  5. example: universal health coverage makes U.S. more competitive in world markets; lowers costs of our products and protects jobs.
  6. example: aggressive R&D for alternative energy tech will free us from influence of foreign powers
  7. get religious right on board by reminding them that for Jesus, priority 1 was the poor; he didn’t say squat about gays, guns, or capital gains…

seven must-see movies you may have missed (with links)

November 12, 2006
  1. Fearless
  2. The Third Man
  3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919 version)
  4. Fellini Satyricon
  5. Lolita (1962 version)
  6. Zardoz
  7. Greaser’s Palace

impeach bush

November 11, 2006
  1. high crimes: broke oath to defend constitution, defying federal wiretap laws
  2. graft:gives billions in no-bid contracts to war profiteers as quid pro quo for political contributions
  3. felony: flat-out lied about WMD in Iraq & started a bloody, costly war based on those lies
  4. strengthens the radical Islamist movement by providing irresistible jihad opportunity for fanatics
  5. illegal collusion with petrochemical industry to hobble clean-air initiatives & repeal, ignore current laws
  6. war crime: tortures human beings in secret prisons, a clear violation of Geneva Convention
  7. his adventurism has killed and crippled more than 150,000 Iraqis & almost 3000 American soldiers for no good reason